Custom Printing & Design FAQ

Accepted File Formats for Online Printing & Design

We can accept a wide variety of file formats (below), however, we prefer all files to be submitted as PDF files to minimize any font, image, text, or formatting complications. 

Preparation Tips See our File Preparations Tips FAQ for details on submitting the highest quality files to eliminate extra file charges or production delays.

Accepted File Types Index

.AI – Adobe Illustrator Document

.JPG – Joint Photographic Experts Group – a lossy image format widely used to display photographic images.

.JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group – a lossy image format widely used to display photographic images.

.PDF – Portable Document Format

.EPS – Encapsulated Postscript

.TIFF – Tagged Image File Format

Binding Methods - Custom Printing & Design FAQ

Books shouldn’t be judged by their covers, but we all do it anyhow. The best content in the world is useless if you can’t attract readers. Make sure your finished product looks attractive and professional by choosing the right binding method below.


Corner Staple Binding


This is the most economical option for binding a small to medium number of pages for a meeting or casual gathering. Nothing fancy here; the name pretty much says it all.


Saddle Stitch Binding


Another inexpensive option, saddle stitch binding connects 60 pages or less with two or more staples along a folded edge. Saddle stitch binding is useful for magazines, booklets, or brochures.


Saddle Loop Binding


Similar to the saddle stitch with the staples extending out into hoops, saddle loop binding allowing the bound pages to be placed into a binder clasp.


Coil/Continuous Loop Binding


Reminiscent of old, wire-bound notebooks, pages are punched with a series of small holes on the left side. A plastic or metal coil is wound through all pages to hold them together, allowing the document to be opened 360 degrees without damage and allowing it to remain flat when open. Planners, technical manuals, workbooks, and presentations can look very professional with this type of binding.


Wire-O Binding


Pages are held together by a double loop wire “comb” inserted through the left edge. This offers the same advantages of coil binding with a slightly different look.




Also similar to coil binding is GBC, a method of binding using a plastic “comb” that wraps through rectangular holes in the edge of the page. The only difference is that the flat side of the plastic comb forms a spine that offers some protection.


Post Binding


Post binding involves metal fasteners drilling through the stack of paper along the left side. Post binding offers some resistance to opening beyond 180 degrees and necessitates hard front and back covers with creases for smooth opening. A major advantage to post binding is ease of disassembly/assembly to allow for adding or removing pages in the future.


Velo Binding


Thin strips of plastic are permanently locked together through holes in the pages. Velo bound pages cannot lay flat and have an exposed, unprintable spine.


Tape Binding


Pages are stitched together, and a strip of sturdy tape is applied to the spine of a stack of pages overlapping the front and back cover. This gives a unique, “old school” book appearance.


Fastbind Binding


Similar to tape binding, the spine is created by an adhesive coated cloth strip rather than tape.


Perfect Binding


Pages are glued together, and the whole project is wrapped in a paper cover/back cover that’s glued at the spine. This is the classic paperback-book style of binding.


Case Binding


Similar to perfect binding, case binding replaces the paper cover with one made of vinyl, cloth, leather, or firm stock. This is your hard-cover book style of binding, complete with a dust jacket wrapped around the cover for protection.

Binding Illustrations


corner staple binding illustration
Corner Staple Binding
The most economical binding method, a staple is used in the corner to attached pages together.
saddle stitch binding
Saddle Stich Binding
This inexpensive method binds pages using two or more staples placed along a folded edge. Suitable for 60 pages or less, there is no printable spine with this option.
saddle loop binding
Saddle Loop Binding
Similar to saddle stitching, except the loops extend out from the spine staples. The loops allow the bound pages to be placed into ring binders.
coil binding
Coil/ Continuous Loop Binding
A round plastic or metal coil is wound through the pages to hold them together. Pages bound this way can be opened 360 degrees and can remain flat when open. Available in black (standard ) and other colors including PMS.
wire-o binding
Wire-O Binding
Also known as twin-loop binding or double-loop binding. A wire is threaded through small holes in the edge of the paper. The result is very similar in look and function to coil binding. A variety of colors are available.
This inexpensive method well uses a plastic "comb" that wraps through rectangular holes in the edge of the pages. The plastic comb also forms a spine that covers the edge of the pages.
post binding
Post Binding
Metal screw-together posts are inserted into holes drill through the stack of paper. holding them together.
velo binding
Velo Binding
Thin strips of plastic are permanently locked together through holes in the front and back of the pages. Velo bound pages do not lie flat and have an exposed, unprintable spine. A variety of colors are available.
tape binding
Tape Binding
A strip of tape is applied to the spine of a stack of pages, overlapping the bound edge. The pages are often stitched together before the tape is applied. Limited color range.
fastbind binding
Fastbind Binding
Pages are pressed into an adhesive-coated cloth strip that wraps around the spine and covers. Similar to tape binding, the binding is flexible and durable. A variety of cloth colors are available.
perfect binding
Perfect Binding
A paper cover wraps around the pages and glued to the spine. The cover forms the front, spine, and back. Popular for paperback and softcover books, this method results in a professional appearance. Suitable for most book types and sizes.
case binding
Case Binding
Also known as hardcover binding, case binding cover materials can be paper, vinyl, cloth, or leather. A loose, paper dust jacket often wrapped around the cover to protect it.

Full Bleed Printing - Custom Printing & Design FAQ

What is Bleed?

Bleed refers to a printed document containing a photograph, background or another design element that touches the edge of the paper. This look is created by printing beyond the border of the designated print area of a larger piece of stock than the finished product requires, then cropping the page down to size. For example, a 3.5” x 2” business card is designed with no border (the background color extends to the edge of the card). Since a printing press is incapable of printing to the edge of a sheet without damaging the finished product, we print the cards onto 3.75” x 2.25” and then trim ¼ inch from each side to achieve this look.

In contrast, a piece with no bleed keeps all the printed elements a minimum of .125" (3mm) away from the edge of the paper on all four sides. Nothing is printed to the finished edge of the paper.

What is the Difference Between Bleed and No Bleed?


Designing a project with bleed is the only way to guarantee your design will reach the edge of paper without a hairline, blank border. This dynamic "forever effect" can add a professional look to just about any project. No bleed is appropriate for simple text and projects where a white border is necessary or desired.


What is the Trim Edge?

The trim edge refers to the edges of the page revealed after trimming is complete. Your illustration software should have an overlay marking the trim edge. Anything designed beyond the trim edge does not appear in the final printed product.


What is the Safety Zone?

The safety zone is the area between the trim edge and an imaginary line 3mm or more inside the print area. This area should include no words, numbers or important information, as it could be partially cut off during trimming or could wear away after excessive handling.


bleed before and after illustration


Bleed Before and After Trimming


The illustration on the left shows a document designed with bleed (finished size plus an extra .125" (3mm) on each side). Because minor variations can occur when cutting the paper to its finished size, to avoid being trimmed off, text and other important matter must stay .125" (3mm) away from the trim edge (the "safety zone").

The illustration on the right shows the printed piece after trimming. Note the last "e" in "Example" has been cut in half because it extended past the safety zone and into the trimming area. Some of the artwork has been cut off for the same reason. Any elements that extend past the safety zone risk being lost in the process of trimming the paper to its finished size.


What Will the Final Page Look Like After Trimming?


If your design software is set up with an overlay showing you the bleed area, trim edge, and safety zone, the finished page will look like the area inside of the trim edge. If you haven’t designed a bleed area but request a bleed, your document will look just like the original with ¼ inch removed from each side.

How Do I Create Bleed In My Design?

When creating your project, make sure your design has dimensions ¼ inch larger than what the finished product will be. Use a graphic overlay of a ¼ inch border to signify the trim edge, then position any graphic, photo or background that you want to bleed all the way to the extended project edge. Finally, create a graphic overlay that’s 1/8th of an inch smaller than your trim edge and examine your design to be sure there are no essential elements outside of that safety zone.

For example: If you’re designing an 8.5” x 11” inch project with bleed, create a document that is 8.75” x 11.25” and include graphics that extend all the way to those edges or beyond. Be sure there are no words or important information outside a centered 8.375” x 10.875” area.

Clipping Path Service - Custom Printing & Design FAQ

When you want to remove the background from an image or logo, a clipping path can be used to produce the desired results.

What is a Clipping Path?

A clipping path is a closed vector path used to cut out unwanted sections of a two-dimensional image. Once the clipping path is applied, anything appearing inside the path will be included in the final image, and anything outside the path will be omitted. 

 Image before clipping pathimage after clipping path applied 
Image before clipping path service Image after clipping path's applied

Why Would I Need a Clipping Path?

You may want to have a clipping path applied to your project when you want to remove a background or isolate a graphic element (such as a logo or foreground image). 

How is a Clipping Path Serviced?

Applying a clipping path to an image can be time-consuming and intricate work. Even the savviest users of digital retouching software can produce less than optimal results when they attempt to design and apply their own clipping path. Our clipping path service is staffed with experts in the art who could generate professional results in a fraction of the time.

Why is a Clipping Path Used Instead of "Painting Over" the Unwanted Parts of the Image?

Applying a clipping path keeps a project flexible, as the images that are removed can be added back in part or as a whole as the project progresses regardless of the software being used. A clipping path is also capable of generating a far more professional look to the image either with a sharp or soft edge. Finally, applying a clipping path produces a file with a much smaller size than one where a visual mask is added. This can make a huge difference when working with intricate projects with many editing layers.

How Much Does a Clipping Path Service Cost?

When placing an order for paper printing from RushFlyers, we can provide you with clipping path services for an additional cost. Pricing for clipped path application varies depending on the number of images used and the complexity of the path required to remove an image.

  • Simple Clipping Path. For images that require just a simple outline—perhaps with a few curves or jagged edges—but with no inside paths.
    image before simple clipping path  image with simple clipping path
    Image Before Clipping Path Simple Clipping Path Applied 

  • Medium Clipping Path. For images with more difficult compounded shapes (i.e., shapes made up of many other shapes) but with no inside paths.
     image before simple clipping pathimage with medium clipping path 
    Image Before Clipping Path Medium Clipping Path Applied 

  • Complex Clipping Path. For images with complex shapes requiring many cutting paths, a detailed outline, or inside paths.
     image before complex clipping pathcomplex clipping path 
    Image Before Clipping Path Complex Clipping Paths Applied 


To get a quote on your clipping path image(s), use the Clipping Service Quote form.

Paper Collating - Custom Printing & Design FAQ

Our online printing store may include options to have the pages of the finished document collated. Or, we may require that pages be laid out in a way that facilitates collating the pages during production. Examples of printed items that are often collated include brochurescatalogs, and booklets.

What is collating?

Paper collating illustrationIn printing, collating simply means layering and delivering the pages of your multi-page project in the order they need to be in for your final presentation. For example, you are printing 100 copies of a booklet with three pages. If you choose to have us collate the project, you will receive 300 pages in a stack. Page one will be on top of the stack, page two underneath and page three will be third. Page one will be fourth in the stack, followed by two, three, one, two, etc. 

What is reverse collating?

Illustration of reverse collatingAs the name implies, reverse collating is applying a collating option but with the pages stacked in reverse order. In our previous example of 100 booklets, reverse collating will result in a stack of 300 sheets with page three on top followed by page two. Then page one, three, two, one, etc.

Why choose a collating option?

Illustration of reverse collatingThe most obvious reason to choose to collate is it makes life much easier when printing multi-page documents. Having the pages delivered in the proper order means no additional work is necessary to bind the project. Some projects you may choose to have collated are brochures, books, booklets, manuals, workbooks, and pamphlets.

For various reasons, you may opt to have your project delivered uncollated. This simply means that each page of your project will be delivered in a separate stack or bundle (one stack of 100 sheets of page one, one stack of 100 sheets of page two, etc.) This could be useful when assembling a project with components of different shapes or sizes. For example, imagine a meeting handout that includes three pages, a brochure, and a business card inside a printed folder. Each component must be printed individually and the final project assembled by hand. Ordering the three loose pages uncollated may make assembly of the finished project easier.

What is meant by uncollated?

An option to order a multiple page document without collating (i.e., uncollated), simply means that each page will be delivered in separate stacks or bundles. Page one will be in one stack, page two in other stack, etc. 

Illustration of uncollated pagesUncollated second page illustrationIllustration of last uncollated page

What is slip sheeting?

Slip-sheets are blank pages separating groups of printed pages and making it easy to see where one group ends and another begins. Slip sheeting may be used to separate each stack in a collated project or to separate each stack of pages in an uncollated project. Using our booklet as an example: If you choose to have 100 copies of a three page booklet collated and separated by slip sheeting, we will deliver 300 printed pages with a slip sheet between each group of three (slip sheet, page one, page two, page three, slip sheet, page one, page two, page three, slip sheet, page one, etc.)

Dot Gain & TVI - Custom Printing & Design FAQ

The printing industry uses a number of special terms to describe or measure how a printed piece looks. Dot gain and TVI are two of these terms.

What is dot gain?

Dot gain is a measure of the difference between the actual ink dot size of the printed piece and the ink dot size specified by the source file. It refers to ink dots appearing larger on the printed piece due to either a mechanical or optical effect. Dot gain is not good or bad. It is simply a normal result of the printing process that must be taken into consideration during the creation of the source file, the choice of papers, printing process, inks, etc. If not taken into account, the result is a printed image that looks darker than intended.

 dot gain illustration
Illustration of Dot Gain Before and After

What is mechanical dot gain?

Mechanical dot gain occurs when paper fibers wick away the liquid ink, increasing the ink dot size. Like rolling out bakery dough to make pizza, it can also be the result of the ink dot being pressed and flattened by rollers during the printing process, increasing the size of the dot.

What factors affect mechanical dot gain?

The paper that is used, the ink, the ink color, the printing press, the roller pressure, and the press speed all can affect dot gain. Uncoated papers like newsprint have a higher dot gain than coated papers. For color printing, the dot gain will vary between colors. The dot gain for cyan, magenta, yellow and black will not be the same. Therefore, the dot gain for each color of ink used in the printed piece must be measured to accurately portray the dot gain for the piece. Web presses normally produce a higher dot gain than sheetfed presses.

What is optical dot gain?

Optical dot gain results when light is trapped under the edge of ink dots, making the image appear darker to the measuring device as well as your eye.

What factors affect optical dot gain?

A scanned image that looks fine on screen may be too dark for printing and may need to have its contrast curves adjusted. Optical dot gain (or loss) can be caused by the laser beam in certain equipment such as film imagesetters (recorder gain) and computer to plate systems. Depending on whether the process is positive or negative, a slight dot gain or a dot loss may occur. The type of material used for the plate or film may affect dot gain. In general, more dot gain will result from higher screen rulings.

Can dot gain be eliminated?

There will always be some degree of dot gain, but it can be minimized by our experienced prepress staff and our press operators using sophisticated software, calibration tools, and production processes. Our trained staff of graphic designers take dot gain into account when designing pieces for our customers. Of course, if you are employing someone else to design your pieces it would be their responsibility to take dot gain into account.

How is dot gain measured?

Dot gain is expressed as the difference between the actual value and the intended value. What is being measured is something called a "flat tint" which is expressed as a percentage. For example: if the flat tint of the piece is measured at 60%, while the intended flat tint was 50%, the printed piece would have a dot gain of 10% (60%-50%=10%). Note the use of "%" is treated as a unit of measure such as inches, kilograms, etc. rather than a real percentage. A spectrodensitometer is used for accurately measuring dot areas. A densitomer can also be used but it is less accurate.

What is the difference between dot gain and TVI?

Dot gain and TVI are sometimes used interchangeably. TVI stands for Tone Value Increase which is a more general measure of the difference in value between the value specified in the source file and the value of the printed piece. Instead of measuring an increase in dot size, it measures changes in tone. It is used when individual ink dots are not used in the printing process to produce the printed piece. A tone reproduction curve provides a relationship between tonal value increase and dot gain.

How to Prep Your Artwork Files For Ideal Printing Results


.AI – Adobe Illustrator. Convert all fonts to outlines and embed any linked graphics.
.INDD – Adobe InDesign. Converting your fonts to outlines is recommended if you are not using True Type
.JPG or .JPEG – Photographic images. Set your camera to the highest resolution if using your own photos. Note that most jpeg images downloaded from the web are low quality and unsuitable for printing.Fonts (.TTF). Package your files to include your fonts and links. Compress the packaged folder (.zip or .sit) before sending.
.PSD – Adobe Photoshop. Flatten your layers before submitting your files.
.TIF or .TIFF – This graphic file format will retain the highest possible image quality.


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If you’d like a background or graphic to extend to the edge of the finished page, you need to design your project with bleed. When designing a project with bleed, extend images to an area .25” larger than the finished project. When saving your file to the proper format for printing (we prefer .PDF) do not use any crop or printer’s marks.

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When printed projects are trimmed, there can be a cutting tolerance of 1/16th of an inch. This may result in uneven borders, so we don’t recommend creating an artificial border on your printing project. If borders are necessary for your piece, the border should be at least .25” thick and at least 3/8” from the bleed line. Even with these guidelines, perfect borders cannot be guaranteed. 

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Color Mode

For best results, files that contain colorful text, artwork, or images should be saved in CMYK color mode. We will print projects that are submitted in RGB or Pantone color mode, but we must convert them to CMYK, which may result in a color shift in the final printing. 

Black and white, as well as text-only projects, must have all artwork or images saved in Grayscale color mode. 

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For vector files, like those generated by CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, or Adobe Freehand, all text must be converted to outlines before output to a PDF file.  

For bitmap files (like those exported by Adobe Photoshop) image layers should all be flattened before output.

Avoid font smaller than 8pt or unusually narrow fonts, as these may not display well (especially against dark backgrounds.)

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Image Resolution

For the best final results of your printing project, we recommend using a digital image with a resolution of at least 300 dpi. We will honor requests to print files with a lower resolution, but the results may not meet your standards or ours.

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All lines should be at least .25 pts thick, or they may not be printable. Remember that smaller lines that are visible on your screen may be too thin to print properly.

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Safety Zone

Design your project with a 1/8th-inch “safety zone” inside of the final print size. Any text or images within this safety zone MAY be cut off in the final project. Make sure no crucial information (names, numbers, etc.) is located in this safety zone when outputting your final file for printing. 

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Does your artwork contain images, text or graphics that extend the very edge of the finished piece? This is called "bleeding off the edge" or simply "bleed". Files with bleed need to be built to the final trim size plus 1/8" extra on each side for the bleed. Example, if you are ordering an 8.5" x 11" sell sheet, the graphic file's size should 8.75" x 11.25". When saving the file into the proper format (preferably PDF), do not use any crop or printer's marks. These will increase the dimensions of the file.

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How do I place an order?

1. Select Your Product.

  • Select Product. Select your product from the Products menu, or by starting on the Home page of this site.
  • Get Price. Each product has a price calculator beside it. Besides quantity, there may be other options (ink color, paper stock, size, turnaround, etc.) to choose from. Click a menu to view the available options and make your selections. If the menu has a single item, that is the only choice available and you need do nothing. The price of the product is displayed automatically after you've chosen all your options.
  • Upload Files. Click the Select button under Upload Files. Find and select the file you are sending us. If more than one file, use the other file upload buttons, or compress your files into one file using Zip, Stuffit, etc.
  • See Shipping. Under Estimate Shipping, a shipping rate can be displayed by entering your zip/postal code and clicking the "Get Rates" button.

2. Click "Add to Cart"

  • Edit, Remove, Add Products. To edit a product (quantity, file attachments, etc.) in the cart click the Edit link, to remove the product click the Remove link. To add more products to the cart, click the "Continue Shopping" button. 
  • Select Shipping Method & Ship To. To select your desired shipping methods and your ship to address, you must be logged in. Click the "Login if you are a returning customer, or Create An Account" link. After login, return to the saved cart, select your shipping methods and ship to address. Review your order summary and click the "Proceed to Checkout" button.

3. Click "Proceed to Checkout"

  • Enter Promotional Codes, PO#, Cost Center Number. If you have a promotion code, enter it on this page and select "Apply Promo Code." Promotional codes cannot be applied to your account after you have submitted your order. If you have a PO# or Cost Center Number, enter it here and include any additional order instructions.
  • Review Order Summary. At checkout, please carefully review your order summary again. Click the "Edit quantities or shipping options" link if changes need to be made.
  • Place Order. To place and pay for the order, click the "Submit Order and Pay with Credit Card" button.
  • Pay Securely. A secure PayPal page will allow you to pay by credit card (or by using your PayPal account). You do not need to log in to PayPal to pay by credit card. Approve your proof as the final step.

4. Approve Your Proof

  • Approve Proof. If you requested a PDF softproof, you will receive an email with a link to view the proof. Click the approval button to approve your proof. If you selected a hard copy proof instead, we will send you a hardcopy by mail or courier. Fax your approval. Changes cannot be made after the proof is approved.
  • Start Order Processing Turnaround Time. We will begin processing your order and turnaround time of your print job begins once we receive your proof approval.

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How do I know I'm ordering the right product?
The Products page displays all the products we offer. Simply click on a product to view complete information about the product, including pricing. If you have questions about any product, please use the Contact Us in the navigation menu at the top of this page. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff will help you.

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How do I see the price before placing my order?
Our product pages provide instant pricing. The price is displayed automatically after you've selected all your choices for the product (ink color, paper stock, size, turnaround, etc.). Price quotes for custom print jobs can be requested by clicking "Custom Quote" in the navigation menu at the top of this page.

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What shipping methods can I choose?
A list of shipping methods and your estimated shipping rate are displayed on each product page. Under "Estimate Shipping", simply enter your zip/postal code and click the "Get Rates" button. You'll be able to select a shipping method after adding the product to the shopping cart.

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Is your website secure for credit card payments?
Yes. We use PayPal or to process credit card payments. They are among the largest online credit card processors in the world and comply with the most stringent industry security measures. You can use American Express, Discover Card, Mastercard, or Visa without the need for a PayPal account. Alternatively, if you have a PayPal account you can use that instead.

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Can you you refuse my order?
Yes. We reserve the right to refuse an order at our discretion. We reserve the right to refuse orders which in our opinion contain offensive, indecent and improper material including those of an illegal nature or that infringe on the rights of any third party. Even if we print your order, under our Terms of Use, you (the Customer) accept full legal liability for the content of material processed and printed on the your behalf and under the your instructions. The link to our Terms of Use is at the bottom of the website.

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What turnaround times do you offer?

The Standard and Rush production turnaround time advertised for a product on this site is based on the typical number of days a print job is completed under normal circumstances, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. While we employ best efforts to meet your target deadline date, unforeseen delays in delivery services, breakdown of equipment, illness, inclement weather, acts of nature and other occurrences may impact our ability to meet the deadline.

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When does production of my order start?

Production will start when all of the following are met: all print-ready artwork is uploaded, full payment is received, and—when a proof has been requested by you—when your proof approval has been received before any indicated cutoff time.

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Is it necessary for me to approve my proof?

Yes. Production of your order will not start until we receive your proof approval. If you have requested a softproof, the proof approval must be received by us by via the emailed approval link we send you. If you have requested a hard copy proof, the signed and approved proof must be received by us by mail or fax. For orders and/or proofs that are approved after 8:00 AM, the production turnaround time starts the next business day.

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Do turnaround times include shipping time?

No. The transit time for shipping is always additional to production turnaround. Please take this into consideration when placing the order.

Paper Coatings - Custom Printing & Design FAQ


Choosing the right paper stock or coating of the page can be just as important as the page’s content. Would you drink a fine wine out of a Dixie cup? How about eating a rib eye steak off of a paper plate? Presentation is everything, and it can make the difference between your print project being adored or ignored. 

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the major ins and outs of paper finishing. Here’s everything you need to know to make the right decision for your project.

What is Uncoated Paper?

uncoated paper
Exaggerated Side View Illustration
Uncoated paper has no coating applied. It’s porous with a rough surface that readily absorbs ink and dries quickly. Stocks that are uncoated include bonds, offsets, card, and newsprint.

Uncoated paper absorbs all kinds of inks well, including pen ink. It is well suited for a project that will be modified and written on further by the end user. Consider using uncoated paper when printing training manuals, calendars, workbooks, or application forms. 

What is Coated Paper?

coated paper
Exaggerated Side View Illustration

Coated paper is an uncoated paper that is lined with a minute layer of white clay. This clay fills the valleys of the paper surface giving it a much smoother feel. This coating also acts to restrict absorption of inks when the paper is printed on, resulting in printing that is darker, sharper, and glossier. 

Paper coatings are available in a range of reflectivity values including:


  • Dull
  • Matte
  • Silk
  • Satin
  • Glossy

Gloss stock makes colors look smoother, richer, and deeper with a high color contrast. Photos and graphics ‘pop’ on gloss stock due to its lower absorbency and dot gain. For this reason, coated paper is preferred over uncoated paper for presentations, flyers, posters, and any projects that need a professional look with eye-catching graphics. Coated paper also holds coating finishes better than uncoated paper will.

What's the difference between coated and uncoated paper?

Paper with a coating is smooth and shiny while uncoated paper is flat with little or no shine. Gloss stock makes colors look smoother, deeper, richer, with great color-contrast. Photos and graphics tend to look better on gloss stock, while text heavy documents and artwork often use matte stock.

Text is more easily read on paper with a matte finish. The softer looking dull surface of matte paper provides color contrast and clarity. Unlike glossy paper, matte stock is more forgiving of fingerprints, smudges and dust.

Uncoated paper is very absorbant, and ink dots will tend to spread outwards (i.e., dot gain), leading to a less precise and darker image than when printed on coated stock. A similar effect happens when a paper towel is placed on a spilled drop of coffee. The drop diameter increases and gets a ragged edge as the liquid spreads in the absorbant fibers. This dot gain can be minimized using sophisticated printing techniques, but it can't be eliminated. Coated paper is less absorbant and therefore dot gain is usually not an issue.

What's the difference between coated paper and a coating finish?

A coated paper is produced at the paper mill with a smooth surface and can have a range of reflectivity values including dull, matte, silk, satin or glossy. A coating finish on the other hand is a clear layer applied after the ink is printed on the paper. It is used to enhance the visual appeal of printed graphics or to add durability and protection to the printing.

What is Uncoated Finishing?

A protective coating or varnish will not be applied to the printed piece.

uncoated paper printed, no coating finishcoated paper printed, no coating finish
Exaggerated Side View Illustration
Printed paper, no finishing coat.
Exaggerated Side View Illustration
Printed coated paper, no finishing coat.


What is Coated Finishing?

A coating finish is a clear, protective layer that is applied after the ink is printed on the paper.

A matte or gloss coating finish can be added to enhance the visual appeal of printed graphics on the page. Another reason to add a coating finish is to protect the printed surface from scratches, mars, fingerprints, and dirt by increasing the rub and scuff resistance of the page. Finally, coating finishes can improve the durability of printed pieces through their effective lifespan. This can be necessary for projects that will pass through many hands such as postcards, flyers, catalog covers, or brochures.

uncoated paper printed, coating finishcoated paper printed, coating finish
Exaggerated Side View Illustration
Uncoated paper printed, with coating finish. 
Exaggerated Side View Illustration
 Coated paper printed, with coating finish.


What is Aqueous Coating?

Aqueous coating is a cost-effective, water-based coating finish, which provides excellent protection from fingerprints and smudges. Aqueous coating has several advantages:

  • Dries quickly
  • Prevents metallic inks from tarnishing
  • Can allow for additional ink-jet printing after application
  • Low cost
  • Long lasting

What's the difference between an aqueous coating and traditional varnish?

Aqueous coatings are less costly than varnish. Aqueous coatings are dried in minutes while a traditional varnishes may need a few hours or days to dry. Aqueous coatings don’t yellow with age while varnishes will yellow.

What's the difference between an aqueous coating and UV coating?

Aqueous coatings are dried by hot air, UV coatings are almost instantly dried and cured by ultraviolet light. UV coatings are tougher and more slippery than aqueous. A ballpoint pen can be used to write on an aqueous coating, but not on most UV coatings. UV coatings can achieve a higher gloss.

What is UV Coating Finish?

UV coatings are applied as a liquid in a thin layer and then cured instantaneously with ultraviolet light. UV coating offers silk, satin, matte, or glossy finishes and can drastically improve the durability of paper stock. UV coating resists dirt, folding, and inks at the expense of being more prone to smudging and fingerprints. 

What is Spot UV Finish?

Spot UV Finishing can be applied to specific areas of the page to accentuate certain photographs and graphic images. Spot UV finishing allows for versatility in your project, adding luster in the form of a matte, silk, satin, or glossy finish to certain areas while leaving other areas open for handwriting or future printing. Spot finishing is popular when printing invitations, business cards, and other projects that might require multi-use stock.

Get answers to your FAQs Paper Folding Techniques

What are the different types of paper folding methods?
There are a number of standard folding types used in the printing industry. These are illustrated below. Of course, there are many more than we show here. If you have a question about a standard or special fold, please use the Contact link in the main navigation menu above.

Standard Commercial Printing Paper Folding Methods

no foldhalf foldtri-foldgate fold opengate fold closed
NoneHalf FoldTri-FoldGate Fold OpenGate Fold Closed
z-foldaccordian fold4-panel foldroll foldquarter fold
Z-FoldAccordion Fold4-Panel Fold
Parallel Fold
Roll FoldQuarter Fold

Paper Sizing Chart - Custom Printing & Design FAQ

There are a number of paper size standards used in the world today, the most commonly used being the international ISO standard and a standard used in North America. These sizes are used to order various printed items such as stationery, brochures, digital copies, fliers, etc. The charts below detail and compare these sizes and their dimensions.

Paper Sizes (Metric A, B, North American ARCH)


ISO A metric paper sizes illustration

A4 is slightly narrower and a bit longer than
North American Letter size paper.

ISO A Sizes
841 mm x 1,189 mm
(33.11 in. x 46.81 in.)

594 mm x 841 mm
(23.39 in. x 33.11 in.)

420 mm x 594 mm
(16.54 in. x 23.39 in.)

297 mm x 420 mm
(11.69 in. x 16.54 in.)

210 mm x 297 mm
(8.27 in. x 11.69 in.)

148 mm x 210 mm
(5.83 in. x 8.27 in.)

105 mm x 148 mm
(4.13 in. x 5.83 in.)

74 mm x 105 mm
(2.91 in. x 4.13 in.)

ISO B metric paper sizes illustration

ISO B Sizes
1,028 mm x 1,456 mm
(40.48 in. x 57.32 in.)

707 mm x 1,000 mm
(28.66 in. x 40.48 in.)

514 mm x 728 mm
(20.24 in. x 28.66 in.)

364 mm x 514 mm
(14.33 in. x 20.24 in.)

257 mm x 364 mm
(10.12 in. x 14.33 in.)

182 mm x 257 mm
(7.17 in. x 10.12 in.)

128 mm x 182 mm
(5.04 in. x 7.17 in.)

ANSI paper sizes illustration

N. American ANSI Sizes
8.5 in. x 11 in.
(215.9 mm x 279.4 mm)

11 in. x 17 in.
(279.4 mm x 431.8 mm)

17 in. x 22 in.
(432 mm x 559 mm)

22 in. x 34 in.
(559 mm x 864 mm)

34 in. x 44 in.
(1118 mm x 864 mm)

North American Architectural paper sizes illustration

N. American ARCH Sizes
Arch A
9 in. x 12 in.
(229 mm x 305 mm)

Arch B:
12 in. x 18 in.
(305 mm x 457 mm)

Arch C:
18 in. x 24 in.
(457 mm x 610 mm)

Arch D:
24 in. x 36 in.
(610 mm x 914 mm)

Arch E:
36 in. x 48 in.
(1914 mm x 1219 mm)

North America



WIDTH (in.)

HEIGHT (in.)

WIDTH (mm)


Business Card

3.5 in.

2 in.

85.6 mm

53.98 mm


7.5 in.

10 in.

190.5 mm

254 mm

Jr. Legal

8 in.

5 in.

203.2 mm

127 mm

Letter/ANSI A

8.5 in.

11 in.

215.9 mm

279.4 mm


8.5 in.

14 in.

215.9 mm

355.6 mm

Ledger/Tabloid/ANSI B

11 in.

17 in.

279.4 mm

431.8 mm


17 in.

22 in.

432 mm

559 mm


22 in.

34 in.

559 mm

864 mm


34 in.

44 in.

864 mm

1118 mm

Arch A

9 in.

12 in.

229 mm

305 mm

Arch B

12 in.

18 in.

305 mm

457 mm

Arch C

18 in.

24 in.

457 mm

610 mm

Arch D

24 in.

36 in.

610 mm

914 mm

Arch E

36 in.

48 in.

1914 mm

1219 mm

Arch E1

30 in.

42 in.

762 mm

1067 mm

Arch E2

26 in.

38 in.

660 mm

965 mm

Arch E3

27 in.

39 in.

686 mm

991 mm


ISO Metric Paper Sizes


WIDTH (mm)


WIDTH (in.)

HEIGHT (in.)

Int'l Business Card

85.6 mm

53.98 mm

3.37 in.

2.125 in.

Japanese Business Card

91 mm

55 mm

3.583 in.

2.165 in.

Hungarian Business Card

90 mm

50 mm

3.543 in.

1.969 in.


841 mm

1,189 mm

33.11 in.

46.81 in.


594 mm

841 mm

23.39 in.

33.11 in.


420 mm

594 mm

16.54 in.

23.39 in.


297 mm

420 mm

11.69 in.

16.54 in.


210 mm

297 mm

8.27 in.

11.69 in.


148 mm

210 mm

5.83 in.

8.27 in.


105 mm

148 mm

4.13 in.

5.83 in.


74 mm

105 mm

2.91 in.

4.13 in.


1,028 mm

1,456 mm

40.48 in.

57.32 in.


707 mm

1,000 mm

28.66 in.

40.48 in.


514 mm

728 mm

20.24 in.

28.66 in.


364 mm

514 mm

14.33 in.

20.24 in.


257 mm

364 mm

10.12 in.

14.33 in.


182 mm

257 mm

7.17 in.

10.12 in.


128 mm

182 mm

5.04 in.

7.17 in.


What is Text Grade Paper?

Text grade paper consists of high-quality sheets that are lighter and thinner than those that are cover grade. Benefits include being more flexible (foldable) and less expensive than their counterparts. Text grade is suitable for most applications including letterhead, handouts, flyers and book pages. This category is sometimes further broken down into smaller categories such as:

  • Book stock
  • Writing stock
  • Bond stock
  • Ledger stock
  • Offset stock

What is Cover Grade Paper?

“Cover grade” is a catchall term used to describe a paper stock that is heavier and thicker than text grade stock. Some notable names in cover stock are:

  • Bristol
  • Index
  • Card
  • Tag

Cover grade stock needs to be scored before being folded, making it sturdy and suitable for protection of text grade stock (ex: folders, book covers, pamphlet covers, etc). This type of stock can also be used in circumstances where text grade paper wouldn’t stand up to significant wear and tear (business cards, postcards, door hangers) and where the additional weight would convey quality (wedding invitations, greeting cards, playing cards).

What is the Difference Between Gloss and Matte Paper?

The gloss of a paper refers to the amount of light that’s reflected off a page at a 75-degree angle. Matte paper has low gloss, emphasizing greyscale contrast, and clarity making it easier to read small print from any angle. Gloss paper is highly reflexive, giving it a “finished” look that is desirable for projects that require a professional touch. Gloss paper also makes colors appear richer and more vibrant, making it ideal for any project requiring photographs or high-quality graphics.

Another notable difference is the feel. Gloss stock will be smoother, almost “slippery” while matte paper will be rougher and textured. Fingerprints tend to linger on gloss while matte will be more absorbent of humidity.


What is Basis Weight?


Basis weight is the weight of 500 sheets of paper (1 ream) cut to a basis size. The higher the basis weight, the heavier a paper will be. The basis size for text grade stock is 25”x38” meanwhile cover stock is measured on a basis of 20”x26.” For this reason, 80# of text stock will differ in actual weight from 80# of cover stock.

Is Weight Also Measured in “Points?”


If you’re seeing reference to a paper stock being measured as “10 pt.” or “12 pt.,” you’re likely seeing a measurement of its thickness. In North America, paper thickness is broken up into thousandths of an inch, and each fraction is labeled as a point. For example, 10 pt. card stock is a firm paper that is 0.010 inches thick.


Paper Weight Comparison Chart (lightest to heaviest)

#'sgsmPaper Stock
16lb60.2 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
40lb60.2 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
20lb75.2 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
50lb75.2 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
24lb90.3 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
60lb90.3 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
80lb104 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
28lb105.4 g/m2Bond/Writing/Ledger
70lb105.4 g/m2Book/Text/Offset
40lb109.1 g/m2Cover
50lb135.5 g/m2Cover
60lb161.8 g/m2Cover
100lb161.8 g/m2Tag
90lb161.8 g/m2Index
65lb176.8 g/m2Cover
110lb199.4 g/m2Index
80lb218.2 g/m2Cover
90lb244.6 g/m2Cover
140lb252.1 g/m2Index
100lb270.9 g/m2Cover
170lb308.5 g/m2Index
220lb385.1 g/m2Index

Get answers to Your Payment & Billing Questions

Accepted payment methods

What payment methods do you accept?
We accept payment by credit card. Your credit card is processed by PayPal or A PayPal account is not necessary to make a purchase from us. You may use any of the following credit cards to make a purchase:

  • American Express
  • Discover
  • MasterCard
  • Visa

When am I billed for my order?
The full amount of the order is automatically charged to your credit card at the time your order is placed.

Sheets vs Pages - Custom Printing & Design FAQ


What is a sheet?

what is a sheet? - illustrationA sheet of paper is a single piece (leaf) of loose paper. A single document can be printed onto both sides of a sheet, though even bare paper is considered a sheet. Sheets can also refer to any material (silk, parchment, hemp, papyrus, etc.) on which documents may be printed.

What is a page?

What is a page? - illustrationA page is one side of a sheet of paper (or a sheet of any material) onto which text or graphic elements may be printed to create a document. 

What is a document?

What is a document?A document is the final product of your project. A finished document will consist of sheets of paper divided into one or more pages that are printed upon and (optionally) bound.

How are the number of pages in a document counted?

How are the number of pages in a document counted? - illustration

A single, flat sheet of paper consists of two sides. Each side of this sheet constitutes a page. So a document consisting of a single sheet with printing on both sides consists of two pages. 


  • Two sheets of paper with printing on only one side each are counted as a two-page document.
  • Two sheets of paper with printing on both sides are a four-page document (whether they are bound or not.)
  • A single sheet of paper that’s folded in half is called a four-page document. Page one is the front cover, page two is the left-most half of the opposite side, page three is the right half of that side, and page four is the back cover.
  • Two sheets of paper folded in half and nested together amount to an eight-page document. When bound in the center of both pages, page one is the cover, pages two to seven are interior pages, and page eight is the rear cover.

How many pages should a booklet be?

What is a document?When designing a booklet or short run booklet (magazine, book, or any other document consisting of centrally bound pages) make sure your final page count is divisible by four. This way you’ll avoid having blank pages at the end of your document.

Sheets vs. Pages Illustration


one sheet equals two pages
One Sheet, Two Pages
A single sheet of paper has two sides. Each side is considered one page. So a sheet of paper is two pages.
one sheet turned into four pages
One Sheet Folded, Four Pages
A sheet folded in two is a four page document. Page one is the front cover, page two is the inside front, page three is the facing page, and page four is the back cover.
two folded sheets is eight pages
Two Folded Sheets, Eight Pages
Two folded sheets that are nested together are an eight page document.